Satanic Temple statue stands at Illinois Capitol

Illinois Capitol rotunda includes Satanic Temple display (Billy Hatfield)

There is a new statue in the State Capitol building and it isn't the Nativity scene or the Menorah. The Satanic Temple-Chicago Chapter just put up its own display.

The statue depicts a hand holding an apple with a serpent wrapped around the wrist. The plaque reads: "Knowledge is the greatest gift."

"I don't see a problem with it," Illinois resident Wayne Rovey said. "It seems like it's a part of the freedom of speech and it doesn't project a bad message."

The Satanic Temple-Chicago Chapter said its organization aims to encourage kindness and understanding among all people. Despite the message the satanic organization is trying to get out to the public, some people aren't buying it.

"I suppose it is their free speech rights to do that, so I can't deny that. But do I agree with it? Absolutely not," local tour guide Garret Moffett said. "I can't disagree with the statement in itself but when it's coming from a satanic or a cult group, my response would be that everything about Satan is a lie."

While some people recognize the freedom of expression, others don't agree with it.

"I think it's inappropriate because it's not something that should be displayed for a lot of people to be offended by," local caregiver Shellie Berg said. "I would be offended by that myself."

The group's application for the display says the organization is non-theistic and aims to "encourage benevolence and empathy among all people."

Secretary of State Spokesman Dave Druker says the Satanic group has the same rights as other religious organizations to have the display in the rotunda.

The state can't censor the contents of the display if they're not funded by taxpayer dollars because the Capitol rotunda is a public place.

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